The Slovenia Times

New rules on work time records kick in

A time recoder. Photo: STA

Employers in Slovenia are required to keep much more detailed records of time worked by their employees under new rules that kicked in on 20 November amid protests that they bring excessive red tape.

Records of hours worked have had to be kept so far, but from now on the time employee arrives at work and the time they leave will have to be registered as well, regardless of whether the company keeps a time clock or not.

Such records will have to be kept not only for regular employees as so far but also for hired contractors and students.

In addition lunch breaks will have to be recorded as well, which has upset employers in the services sectors such as hospitality.

"I don't suppose our guests will wait for our waiters or cooks to take a half an hour lunch break," Gorazd Bigman, a Trbovlje restaurant owner, complained in an interview run by TV Slovenija on 19 November.

He said his establishment will not record lunch breaks but will wait to get detailed instructions.

But his employees will record the time of their arrival and departure from work in writing on a paper form, he told the public broadcaster.

Under the new rules the worked time records will have to be kept safe by the employer for good.

Meanwhile, businesses that have already been found violating labour legislation will have to keep electronic records of the hours worked and breaks taken by their employees.

Aim to curb violations

The new rules were introduced with amendments to the Labour and Social Security Registers Act in spring but kicked in after a six-month transition period to allow employers to get ready for them.

The main aim of the rules is to curb violations of labour rights and come after two companies were found to have kept foreign workers on long hours for which they did not pay them.

The labour inspectorate had been warning for years that the legislation did not allow for efficient oversight over labour legislation violations, in particular those related to working time.

Although both trade unions and employers initially backed the changes, employers raised protest shortly before they kicked in, complaining about the red tape involved.

The Chamber of Craft and Small Business said last week the new rules "bring more bureaucracy, additional costs to employers, do not take into account new forms of work and bring absolutely no guarantees that abuses or violations will not happen any more".

Opposition by employers prompted Economy Minister Matjaž Han to publicly call for the new rules to be suspended until legislation was properly amended.

As a compromise solution the government decided that inspectors will initially not conduct checks and issue fines for potential violations but rather advise employers on how to put them in effect.

Until the end of the year, both employers and employees will be able to send their remarks to the government with Labour Minister Luka Mesec promising that the legislation will be amended accordingly.

Inspections to check on adherence to the new rules will not start before 2024.

The new legislation imposes higher fines, which can range up to €200,000.

Public office holders and MPs, and university professors, are exempt from the rules, which has upset employers.


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